Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Copper Jewelry - An Overview

Copper jewelry has been around for a long long time! Like many items that we continue to use in our daily lives today, this metal was discovered by ancient Egyptians sometime between 2500 and 4000 BC and was considered to be a valuable commodity, and ones standing in society was often a function of how much Cu a person owned and wore. However, as time passed, it became less valuable. As discoveries grew, its value started to drop.

However, as people learned about the properties and benefits of copper, its application in the daily lives of people grew tremendously. Today, it is relatively inexpensive, especially compared to precious metals such as gold and platinum. The ease with which it can be turned in foil, plates, and wire has made this metal an endearing material in the design and making of fashion jewelry. The beautiful rustic rose color of the metal makes this an attractive metal for jewlery making. The color is more or less neutral, making it a perfect match with semi-precious gemstones such as onyx, peridot, and various colors of quartz. Today, it is mined extensively in North and South America, and Australia. Within the US, the largest mines are located in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. However, the world's largest mine is located in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

Typically, ore contains 3 to 6 percent metal. In other words, after processing 100 pounds of ore, you end up with 3 to 6 pounds of metal! After all this expense and effort, you can buy the purified metal in the free market for $2 per pound! So this makes copper the perfect material for inexpensive fashion jewelry. Man has also taken advantage of its medicinal benefits. Various preparations containing this metal are used as fungicides, antimicrobial medicines, and hygienic medical devices. There have also been claims of pain relief and arthritis control using bracelets and other items. Most of these claims are anecdotal, and as such, have not been proven through rigorous scientific and medical testing. Scientists and doctors often claim that the improvement seen in patients using Cu as part of their treatment is most likely the "placebo effect".

Dale Arnold
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